The Czech Republic is the least religious of the former Communist publics, and widely regarded as one of the most secular nations in the world. But while few Czechs go to church, a new form of spirituality is taking hold: magic.
Czech sociologist Dana Hamplová told the Guardian newspaper that many of her countrymen “easily accept the idea that fortune-tellers can predict the future, lucky charms bring good fortune or that the stars might influence their lives.” So, even though church attendance is low (as many as 81 per cent of Czechs feel religion was not important), Czechs are reaching beyond the material world and practising forms of religion outside of the monotheist traditions.
Hamplová notes that it is important not to attribute Czechs’ indifference to traditional religion to the Communist era: Czechs had rather ambiguous attitudes toward the Church even before then. “[This] explains why none of the other Central European post-Communist countries display a similarly low support for traditional religion.” About one third of Poles, for example, say religion is very important, and that they pray at least once a day. Maybe the pollsters should have asked which god they were praying to.